The sun is perfect and you woke this morning

hand-photography-black and white

The sun is perfect and you woke this morning.
You have enough language in your mouth to be understood.
You have a name, and someone wants to call it.
Five fingers on your hand and someone wants to hold it.
If we just start there,
every beautiful thing that has and will ever exist is possible.
If we start there, everything, for a moment, is right in the world.

~ Warsan Shire


Warsan Shire, 26, was born in 1988 in Kenya to Somali parents. She later emigrated to London. Shire thereafter began writing poetry as a way to connect with her Somali heritage and her roots in Somalia.


Credits:

The Joker

face-eye-portrait-black-and-white

It’s the end of a (very) long day, concluding with a work dinner. I drag myself out of the car, pulling my briefcase behind me. My shirt tail is untucked. My tie half undone. My shoes, dusty and scuffed. A disheveled, sloppy mess.

I’m hopeful that I can slither into the house and get a few minutes to myself. I enter. The house is quiet but for the soft murmur of a TV running on another floor. I slowly strip my shoes and socks, with my bare feet cooling on the wood floor. I’m in decompression. Hose me down with pure oxygen. Let Solitude rain on me.

And then.

There’s Thunder. Four legs storming up the stairs. Zeke’s bounding down the hallway. Dad’s Home! He wiggles in and out of my legs. Kissing (licking) my suit pants, leaving white slobber dripping from my crotch. Well that’s nice. Ah, just forget it. It just adds to your ensemble.

Susan rounds the corner. My Hummingbird spewing nectar all over. She’s talking. I’m listening. (Sort of.) The subject turns.

SK: Do you want some feedback? [Read more...]

Morning Meditation: 40 Seconds In the Alps


 

Sweet Jesus

biscuits-jam-cream


From Humingbird High in Portland Oregon:

Sweet Cream Biscuits with Plum Jam and Earl Grey Whipped Cream

Find recipe and additional pictures here.


Source: Steps on My Sunlight Floor

Lighting a little dark as I go

falling-star
“The temptation is to make an idol of our own experience, to assume our pain is more singular than it is. Even here, in some of the entries above, I see that I have fallen prey to it. In truth, experience means nothing if it does not mean beyond itself: we mean nothing unless and until our hard-won meanings are internalized and catalyzed within the lives of others. There is something I am meant to see, something for which my own situation and suffering are the lens, but the cost of such seeing — I am just beginning to realize — may very well be any final clarity or perspective on my own life, my own faith. That would not be a bad fate, to burn up like the booster engine that falls aways from the throttling rocket, lighting a little dark as I go.”

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

On the afternoon of his 39th birthday, less than a year after his wedding day, poet Christian Wiman was diagnosed with an incurable cancer of the blood. Wiman had long ago drifted away from the Southern Baptist beliefs of his upbringing. But the shock of staring death in the face gradually revived a faith that had gone dormant. Wiman’s book of essays, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer took shape in the wake of his diagnosis, when he believed death could be fast approaching. These writings come from someone who is less a cautious theologian than a pilgrim crying out from the depths. They divulge the God-ward hopes (and doubts) of an artist still piecing together a spiritual puzzle. San Francisco-based lawyer and author Josh Jeter corresponded with Wiman about his new book, his precarious health, and the ongoing challenge of belief in God. (Source: CT)


Notes:

 

Running. With Sticks.

drum-gif-smash

6:30 am.

Mid-July, and it’s 63º F. Overcast. Low humidity.

PULL UP THE DAMN DOUBLE-DECKER GRATITUDE BUS.

I’m out the door. And down the highway.

I’m flicking through my playlist. James Taylor. Click. Bonnie Raitt. Click. Bryan Adams. WarmerClick. David Sanborn. Cool down, maybe. Click. Sara McLachlan. Animal Cruelty Videos. Click. Click. Jimmy Buffet. Margaritaville. NO. CLICK.  

And then, AC-DC.

And THEN, AC-DC.

THUNDERSTUCK. Sound of the drums beating my heart.

Block: Morning weigh-in. Re-grip the sticks…and Swing.
Block: Heavy legs. Re-grip the sticks…and Pound.
Block: Lack of sleep. Re-grip…and Slam.
Block: Work. WORK. Re-grip, unleash and Pulverize ‘em.

Time Check: 6.12 miles @ 55.08 minutes.

Nap Time.


Notes:

SMWI*: Truth

diet-weight-funny-laugh


Notes:

  • *SMWI = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
  • Source: Chikita Banana

Saturday Morning

funny,laugh,sleep,saturday morning

funny,sleep,saturday morning


Source: wobblywibbly

5:00 Bell: Going Home

summer-drive-chill


Source: Visualphotos.com via Youreyesblazeout

 

1 min 30 to Start Your Day Off Right


From Stephen:

Catching up on your posts and came across your July 7 Monday Mantra.  Thought you might like to see the original video of the reggae-biased Morepork … so named for their call. If you live close to bush in New Zealand, you turn on the porch light and these little guys will come calling to feed on the moths.”

This little Morepork (or Ruru in Maori) arrived at New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust’s Green Bay Hospital in Auckland when it was about a week old. Now it is flying and has lost most of its baby feathers. New Zealand Bird Rescue supports the community by assisting many thousands of sick, orphaned, injured and lost birds every year. Birds that come into care here are rehabilitated until they are ready for release back into the wild. We accept and care for all New Zealand birds; no bird is ever turned away. Many have been victims of cat attacks, road accidents, pollution, fishing line entanglements, and human ignorance or cruelty.


Thank you Stephen.

Breakfast: This. Or That?

So, what’s it going to be for breakfast?

Raspberries?

raspberries-red-fruit-sweet

or…

[Read more...]

Again I resume the long lesson: how small a thing can be pleasing

leaf-falling-gif
Again I resume the long lesson:
how small a thing can be pleasing,
how little in this hard world it takes
to satisfy the mind and bring it to its rest.

Within the ongoing havoc
the woods this morning is almost unnaturally still.
Through stalled air, unshadowed light,
a few leaves fall of their own weight.

The sky is gray.
It begins in mist almost at the ground
and rises forever.
The trees rise in silence
almost natural, but not quite,
almost eternal, but not quite.

What more did I think I wanted?
Here is what has always been.
Here is what will always be.
Even in me,
the Maker of all this returns in rest,
even to the slightest of His works,
a yellow leaf slowly falling,
and is pleased.

Wendell Berry


Notes:

Memento Mori

camera-gif-photograph

“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”

— Susan Sontag


Notes:

First things first

coffee-funny-morning-work


Source: Thank you Assorted

Rachel: Your Dad was a wee bit ahead of his time…


The Huffington Post: Colbie Caillat Rallies Against Photoshop In ‘Try’ Music Video:

In her music video for “Try,” Colbie Caillat takes a stance against Photoshop. She starts off the video looking like (as MTV put it) “a cartoonized version of Mariah Carey in a Dove ad” and proceeds to un-Photoshop herself, ending the song as her natural, unedited self, alongside a wonderfully diverse set of women, who undergo the same transition.

“When I shot the first scene with no hair and makeup on in front of an HD camera in my face, flashed with bright lights, everyone was watching,” she told Elle. “I thought, ‘Oh my god, I bet they’re all looking at my blemishes, thinking that I should cover them up, or that I should put some volume in my hair.’ But it also felt really cool to be on camera with zero on, like literally nothing on. And then when it got to the full hair and makeup, I actually felt gross. I was just so caked on.”

[...]Take your make-up off
Let your hair down
Take a breath
Look into the mirror, at yourself
Don’t you like you?
Cause I like you


Thank you Liz.


Sunday Sermon

photography,Montana,black and white
I always have this sense that something is going to resolve my spiritual anxieties once and for all, that one day I’ll just relax and be a believer. I read book after book. I seek out intense experiences in art, in nature, or in conversations with people I respect and who seem to rest more securely in their faith than I do. Sometimes it seems that gains are made, for these things can and do provide relief and instruction. But always the anxiety comes back, is the norm from which faith deviates, if faith is even what you would call these intense but somehow vague and fleeting experiences of God. I keep forgetting, or perhaps simply will not let myself see, what true faith is, its active and outward nature. I should never pray to be at peace in my belief. I should pray only that my anxiety be given peaceful outlets, that I might be the means to a peace that I myself do not feel.

~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer


Notes:

 

Summer

surf-texas-Kenny-braun


Kenny Braun Photography: Kenny Braun is a Texas photographer that’s equal parts Thoreau and Avedon—an existential outdoorsman and consummate professional who adeptly captures everything from remote places to far away gazes. He brings a consistent visual identity to a wide range of subject matter by focusing on quality of light, color and mood. Music, surfing and photography have been his passions since high-school, each influencing the other. His personal work explores a sense of place and memory by returning to scenes from his childhood. His curiosity about faces and places is evident in his work, which is so vivid you can’t even imagine a photographer being involved.


Source: Kenny Braun Photography via YHBTI

Saturday Morning

saturday-morning-read-book-coffee-relax


Source: coffeeandlight via SensualStarfish

5:00 PM Bell!

office-funny-friday-TGIF


Source: Chikita Banana

 

Gaffe

funny-life-mistake-autobiography


Source: Living in Maine

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week

dog-cute-funny-dirty


Source: Magical Nature Tours

The quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter

father-daughter-beach-walk
Joy is a meeting place, of deep intentionality and of self forgetting, the bodily alchemy of what lies inside us in communion with what formally seemed outside, but is now neither, but become a living frontier, a voice speaking between us and the world: dance, laughter, affection, skin touching skin, singing in the car, music in the kitchen, the quiet irreplaceable and companionable presence of a daughter: the sheer intoxicating beauty of the world inhabited as an edge between what we previously thought was us and what we thought was other than us.

~ David Whyte


Notes:

  • For Rachel, on your Birthday today.
  • Sources: Poem/Quote – Thank you Makebelieveboutique.com. Photograph: dpf.peterFather & daughter walk along beachTofino, BC, Canada — Image by © Henry Georgi/Wave/Corbis

Dementia: Holding onto Reason

balloons-storm-demenia


Source: Cart via Madame Scherzo. Unpublished cover for New Scientist magazine about oncoming Dementia and how to manage it.

There’s Joy. There’s Exaltation. There’s You.

Rachel - five - swimming
22 years ago, you came in our lives.
Here you are at five.
We couldn’t imagine our lives without you.
Happy Birthday Honey.

Mom & Dad


Need a whole new syntax for fatigue on days like this

fatigue-tired-exhausted-read


Post Title: David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest. Photograph Source: art42

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day

OK, now this, THIS, is something special. Sandy, a fellow WordPress blogger @ A Mind Divided, shared this vintage photograph and explained:

My mom and dad travelled a lot after they retired from farming.  I found this picture of them from 1974 when they were in Morocco and immediately thought of you.

And look at Sandy’s Mom and Dad proudly posing with Caleb, who was just a baby…but had high voltage star power even in the early 70′s. Thank you Sandy!


Blue Bayou

Blue-clouds-solitude

↓ click for audio (Linda Ronstadt – “Blue Bayou”)

 


Source: Autosafari

A Robin. Builds a nest.

Nest-Robin-eggs-blue

Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers points us to a wonderful story at the Audubon Magazine titled: What It’d Take to Build a Human-Sized Robin’s Nest.

Find Rob’s post here: Nest.

And be sure to click through. Wonderful Story.


Today. July 8th. A LARGE day…

coffee-almond-chocolate-bark

Did you know that the United States has more than 175 days to celebrate the awareness of food or drink? And, per Wiki’s List of Food Days, 14 of them, including today, are dedicated to the awareness of CHOCOLATE? Here’s the line-up for Chocolate Days:

  • Jan 03: National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
  • Jan 27: National Chocolate Cake Day
  • Jun 16: National (Chocolate) Fudge Day
  • Jun 26: National Chocolate Pudding Day
  • Jul 03: National Chocolate Wafer Day
  • Jul 08: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
  • Jul 25: National Hot (Chocolate) Fudge Sundae Day
  • Jul 28: National Milk Chocolate Day
  • Oct 28: National Chocolate Day
  • Nov 07: National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day
  • Nov 29: National Chocolates Day
  • Nov 30: National (Chocolate) Mousse Day
  • Dec 04: National (Chocolate Chip) Cookie Day
  • Dec 08: Naitonal (Chocolate) Brownie Day

So, go ahead and celebrate today. Change it up this morning.  Think Chocolate. Instead of your cup-a-joe, grab 1 or 3 or 5 pieces of my favorite chocolate combos: Coffee & Roasted Almonds Chocolate Bark (above) made by Foodhearts.com.


Thank you Lorne

Sunday Morning

grass-dew-morning-sunny-light

It is a time of quiet joy,
the sunny morning.
When the glittery dew is on the mallow weeds,
each leaf holds a jewel which is beautiful
if not valuable.
This is no time for hurry or for bustle.
Thoughts are slow and deep and golden in the morning.”

~ John SteinbeckTortilla Flat


Notes:

Running. With Gremlins.

running-black and white

6:00 am. 60º F. Light breeze. A Runner’s paradise. I’m out the door.

Mood Check: On a continuum of Bliss on the right and Rage on the left, the needle is twitching left of center.

It is said that, today, we live in a secular society, believing in worldly, non-religious, non-spiritual “things.” Just look at me. Every morning when I step on the scale…no matter what caloric catastrophe I engaged in the day before, I believe our Taylor 7506 Digital Scale is going to deliver.  This morning, was just another morning.  My cup runneth over. With belief.

A deep breath. A pause. One step up. Then the other. The digital read-out comes to life. Gremlins scurrying around with their algorithms. They’re flicking in a range from 208.5 to 207.8 and back. Why do you think they flick in a range? They didn’t use to flick in a range. Belly jiggling, so they can’t lock on? My eyes get large. They settle on 208.3. DAMN IT.

Ten pounds up in less than 60 days. If God was Good…If God was Great, this wouldn’t be so damn difficult. I’m drowning in temptation. Cereal. Danishes. Fruit and Cheese filled croissants. Ice cream. Pasta. And that was just yesterday. It’s raining on me.

And by now, you know what comes next: PENANCE. [Read more...]

The tick-tick-tick

fireworks

How can this human life
be anything other than astonishing?
The tick-tick-tick of pleasure’s ignition

~ Sigman Byrd“The Beginner” 


Credits:

5:00 PM Bell: Heading Home For Long Weekend

cute-gif-baby-skateboard


Source: Hungarian

5:00 Bell: Here it is. The long weekend.

gif-wind-driving-touch-car


Source: 50thousand

But my miracle was different

sunrise

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”

~ John Green, Paper Towns

Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
[Read more...]

Good Morning. We’re Ready. Ready to Go.

pitbull


Source: The Pet’s Mart (The 10 Naughtiest Dog Breeds)

Def: kar·ma (noun)

funny-sign-Karma-meaning-people


Source: themetapicture


So. Just stop it.

allow-stop-continue


Source: art42

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?

camel-hump-day-caleb-funny


Miss me?


Source: Dubai by 

For a moment life suddenly feels lighter

Gene-Kelly-1 Gene-Kelly-2
Gene-Kelly-3 Gene-Kelly-4
“I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to (for) me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (‘I’m not a big one for paying compliments…’), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain.”

Jonathan Carroll 


Notes:

You were waiting for a sign…

waiting-sign-funny


Source: thedaybeforyoucome

Monday Morning Bell

eastern-meadowlark-bird-yellow


Source: Fairy-Wren (Eastern Meadowlark)

Family Dinner

The Four Freedoms, Freedom from want

6:30 pm. Saturday evening. Family sits for dinner.

Susan is sitting to my right. A hummingbird, fluttering her wings, spreading honey.

Rachel to my left. Her boyfriend Andrew, next to her. Rachel’s jabbering on about her first week of full-time work. She’s coming down, down from the high of college graduation, and seeing the next 30 year highway of her life. Commuting. Work. Exhaustion. Weekends. Loop it back and hard again. (Is that the gratitude Bus Rachel has pulled up for her Mom & Dad?)

Eric, is down at the end of the table. He’s sneaking glances at his phone. I glare. He puts the phone back in his pocket.

Zeke’s laying under the table. Hoping for something, anything to hit the floor.

And there’s The King, at the head of the table. Fork in the right. Scepter in the left. (Surveilling the landscape. Inhaling it deep into the lungs. Same somber script running. Eagles and Peaceful Easy Feeling is playing. Sand racing through the hourglass. How many of these do we have left?)

“Dad, look at Eric’s guns.”
“Guns?”
“His biceps. They’re bigger than yours.”
I glance at Eric’s “guns.”
He looks down. And blushes. (Did I see a smirk?)
[Read more...]

But there is no going back

woman_back_black_and_white

“But to preserve something is to delay that act indefinitely. Maybe preserves are where a historian’s urges meet a cook’s capacities. I wish that I could put up yesterday’s evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind afire, a day of harmony, ten thousand glorious days of clouds that will instead vanish and never be seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in the interim and tasted again as needed. My historian’s nature regards with dismay that all these things arise and perish, though there will always be more clouds and more days, if not for me or for you. Photographs preserve a little of this, and I’ve kept tens of thousands of e-mails and letters, but there is no going back.”

—Rebecca Solnit, from The Faraway Nearby


Notes:

SMWI*: Godspeed You. (Walk. Feel. Touch. In Nature.)


“We loved the evocative nature of ‘Godspeed You’ and wanted to create something beautiful and atmospheric to compliment the themes of the track. We particularly focused on the idea that we are part of something that is greater than us all. We decided on a simple narrative that follows a girl’s journey back into nature, watching as she is gradually dwarfed by the dramatic landscapes surrounding her, until she is finally enveloped into the earth – only to rise again as part of the natural landscape. Finally, she is cleansed and returns to the world as a woman reborn.”

~ Jack Pirie & Alex Hylands, Directors


Notes:

  • SMWI* = Saturday morning workout inspiration.
  • Francesco Rossi joins forces together with MTV Europe’s Belgian Artist of the Year Ozark Henry to deliver his new single “Godspeed You.” Francesco Rossi, 39, is from Tuscany, Italy and is a DJ and Producer. Piet Goddaer, 44, is a Belgian Musician, better known by his stage name Ozark Henry.
  • The video is filmed in the Lake District, a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets.

5:00 P.M. Bell: Diving into the Weekend

gif-dive-swim-light


Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Just Livin’

ballet-foot-black and white

NS: Name?
DK: David K-A-N-I-G-A-N. No middle initial. (Here we go again.)
NS: Height?
DK: 6’1″.
NS: Weight?
DK: (Pause)
NS: (Smiling) We can weigh you when we get inside.
DK: Today or this month’s average?
NS: Today.
DK: 208. (She doesn’t know that you’re up 10. Why avert your eyes you coward?)
NS: Name of GP?
DK: (Pause) Don’t have one.
NS: Don’t have a GP?
DK: It’s been a while.
NS: Date of last physical?
DK: (Pause) Don’t remember. (She steals a glance at my ID. Checking DOB.)
NS: Blood type?
DK: No idea.
NS: (Staring eye-ball-to-eyeball now)
[Read more...]

What are you now? Air? Mist? Dust? Light? What? Give me something.

photo-child-eyes-soot


Image Source: Danielle Landry. Title: Dorianne Laux.

The most impressive students I had over my 30 years of teaching were…

joseph_epstein

…The most impressive students I had over my 30 years of university teaching were those I encountered when I first began, in the early 1970s, who almost all turned out to have been put through Catholic schools, during a time when priests and nuns still taught and Catholic education hadn’t become indistinguishable from secular education. Many of these kids resented what they felt was the excessive constraint, with an element of fear added, of their education. Most failed to realize that it was this very constraint—and maybe a touch of the fear, too—that forced them to learn Latin, to acquire and understand grammar, to pick up the rudiments of arguing well, that had made them as smart as they were…

..So often in my literature classes students told me what they “felt” about a novel, or a particular character in a novel. I tried, ever so gently, to tell them that no one cared what they felt; the trick was to discover not one’s feelings but what the author had put into the book, its moral weight and its resultant power. In essay courses, many of these same students turned in papers upon which I wished to—but did not—write: “D-, Too much love in the home.” I knew where they came by their sense of their own deep significance and that this sense was utterly false to any conceivable reality. Despite what their parents had been telling them from the very outset of their lives, they were not significant. Significance has to be earned, and it is earned only through achievement. Besides, one of the first things that people who really are significant seem to know is that, in the grander scheme, they are themselves really quite insignificant.

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays


Thank you Michael Wade for your recommendation of Epstein’s new book: A Literary Education and Other Essays. I’m half way through and loving it.  Joseph Epstein, 77, was born in Chicago. He is an essayist, short story writer, and editor. In 2003, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Welcome to 4 a.m.

Ocean-Streak-Jogjakarta-Java

Welcome to 4 a.m.

Where we lie in limbo,
waiting for the sun to come up,
the moon to go down,
the median between life
and whats left of the dark decay of lifelessness.
Where Your eyes open wide,
where your thoughts wander into the void of the infinite.
Where we wait to see the beginning,
the middle,
and the end.

~ Unknown


Photography: Hengki Koentjoro (Ocean Streak, Jogjakarta – Java, June 10, 2014) via Elinka. Poem from Wordsnquotes.